A chemical industry association is accusing President Donald Trump’s administration of using an outdated definition of “science” to dismiss the scientific evidence that chemicals are harmful to humans.
The American Chemistry Council, the country’s largest chemical industry trade group, issued a statement Thursday slamming the Trump administration’s decision to revoke a major research grant from the National Institutes of Health, which supports the agency’s effort to identify, characterize and mitigate chemical risks to human health.
Trump’s decision, according to the statement, is “not a science-based decision and should be withdrawn immediately.”
The decision is “completely inappropriate and contrary to the spirit and intent of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) award, which was established to support the nation’s scientific work,” the statement said.
“The NSF’s award clearly recognizes the importance of the work of the NSF and its programs, and encourages them to continue their work to protect the health of Americans.”
The move to revoke the grant came after Trump threatened to withhold funding from the NSFs basic research programs if the agency did not conduct a study on the harmful effects of chlorpyrifos.
“I am sending the strongest possible signals to the NSFG that they should not proceed with any study of chlorpolymer,” Trump said in March.
“Chlorpyrin, if it’s a problem, it’s very bad for your health.
If it’s not, you don’t want it in your body.
I think we should stop it.”
Trump’s move comes after a study released in April by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that chlorpysone is an “important” agent of disease.
The agency has said it will continue to support its research program.
“We continue to believe that chlorpolysin is safe and effective for the prevention and treatment of severe acute respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” said the NSMCC’s statement.
The group’s statement comes just days after Trump signed an executive order that rescinds the Obama administration’s landmark Clean Water Act and limits the ability of states to implement their own environmental protection measures.
Trump signed the order on Feb. 11, three days after the EPA announced a plan to regulate chlorpypyrifon as a hazardous chemical.
The administration said the plan would be effective immediately, though the move has not yet been implemented.
The NSF grants, which were awarded in 2017, were intended to fund research into the safety of the chemical and related compounds, such as chlorpydipyrin and chlorpynyltrifluoromethylbenzene.
The National Academy of Sciences says its research and outreach program is vital to protecting public health and advancing our understanding of the natural world.
In a statement issued Thursday, the group said it has “great respect for the work done by the NSFI, NSF, NSFH and the American Chemical Society, but we have deep concerns that the administration is continuing to withhold critical information on the toxic effects of these compounds.”